UN Report: World could face dramatic biodiversity loss

Posted May 10, 2010 by Sharon Davis
A United Nations report titled Global Diversity Outlook 3 was released today (Monday, 10th May). The authors say that a new vision is required to stave off a dramatic global loss in biodiversity.
The report produced by the Convention for Biodiversity concludes that the natural systems that support economies, lives and livelihoods across the planet are at risk of rapid degradation and collapse, unless there is swift, radical and creative action to conserve and sustainably use the variety of life on Earth.
A press release from the Convention on Biological Diversity says the report confirms that the world has failed to meet its target to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.
The report warns that massive further loss of biodiversity is becoming increasingly likely, and with it, a severe reduction of many essential services to human societies as several “tipping points” are approached, in which ecosystems shift to alternative, less productive states from which it may be difficult or impossible to recover.
These tipping points include the dieback of large areas of the Amazon forest, shift of many freshwater lakes and other inland water bodies to eutrophic or algae-dominated states and multiple collapses of coral reef ecosystems.
According to the press release, the report suggests that the predicted negative outcomes are avoidable if effective and coordinated action is taken to reduce the multiple pressures being imposed on biodiversity, as well as linking the loss of biodiversity to global warming. For example, urgent action is needed to reduce land-based pollution and destructive fishing practices that weaken coral reefs, and make them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.
The report will provide key information for discussions by world leaders and heads of state at a special high level segment of the United Nations General Assembly on 22 September. Its conclusions will also be central to the negotiations by world governments at the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit in October.
In his foreword to the report, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon writes: “To tackle the root causes of biodiversity loss, we must give it higher priority in all areas of decision making and in all economic sectors."
“As this third Global Biodiversity Outlook makes clear, conserving biodiversity cannot be an afterthought once other objectives are addressed – it is the foundation on which many of these objectives are built. We need a new vision for biological diversity for a healthy planet and a sustainable future for humankind."